Bird Flu Vaccine: One Small Step
The FDA approved a vaccine against a strain of avian influenza on Tuesday, but the formula is only modestly effective. It provokes protective immunity in less than half of the recipients and requires two doses a month apart even for that. url="http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-sci-flu18apr18,1,5593871.story?coll=la-news-a_section"]
In clinical trials, the vaccine for the H5N1 strain of bird flu provoked an immune response in 45% of people. By contrast, vaccines for \easonal flu protect 70% to 90% of those who get a shot, the FDA said.
The bird flu vaccine, made by Sanofi Pasteur of Swiftwater, Pa., has other drawbacks. The time it takes to administer the two required 90-microgram doses — about a month — was longer than health officials would like, Baylor said. The amount of flu protein needed for a single course of the vaccine also was high, limiting the number of shots available.[/q]
Sanofi's vaccine is not commercially available and the U.S. government has secured about 6.5 million doses of the vaccine. Preparations for a possible pandemic will continue.
Sanofi-Pasteur is the vaccine division of the sanofi-aventis group.